Friday, August 08, 2014



I should probably change this to prison and cops fridays or something.

This is the story of Denise Steward, a 48 year old black women who was treated by cops, well, in the general fashion cops treat black people.  In this situation, the cops said they were investigating the allegations against of child abuse or such.  So they yanked her  out of her Brownsville home  on July 13 and left her to stand topless in the hallway. Stewart, along with her 20-year-old daughter Diamond Stewart, was charged with assault, acting in a manner injurious to a child, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration.The 12 year old who was allegedly assaulted was taken into police custody, but has been returned to her mother’s care.

Press TV reporting on the incident:

Denise Stewart, who had just taken a shower and was wearing only a towel, was forced out of her apartment by 12 police officers, Press TV's correspondent Susan Modaress reports from New York.

The officers kept the 48-year-old mother half-naked in the hallway until she passed out.

Stewart was in her apartment on July 13 when she heard police pounding on her door and demanding entry.

When she declined to let them in, the police dragged the mother of four out of her apartment into the hallway and forced her against the wall.  

Stewart, who suffers from asthma, was pinned to the wall for over two minutes and was yelling, "oxygen…. get my oxygen." Her son is also heard in the chaotic video saying, "her asthma….her asthma". Stewart fainted and fell to the floor.

“What we see here on streets of New York is where people of color, women and children, are dehumanized, dragged out of their homes, have their homes broken into, or killed in their homes and treated as less than human under the guise of ‘well, we are doing it to prevent crimes and protect the community,’” human rights activist Greg Butterfield told Press TV.

Police said they were following up on a 911 call of a domestic argument in the building but had no specific apartment number. They reported that they heard a commotion coming from Stewart’s apartment and wanted to investigate.

By the way during the "scuffle" neighbors shouted at police that Steward had serious breathing problems.  The cops didn't give it no never mind.

Stewart’s lawyer Amy Rameau released the following statement:

Ms. Stewart is a respected member of her community and she committed absolutely no crime.  These officers conducted themselves in a deplorable manner.  They pepper sprayed her four year old grandson and a male officer punched her twelve year old daughter, the same twelve year old they claim they were there to protect.

What these officers did exemplifies not only a disrespect for women in general but a disrespect for women of color in particular because of a general disrespect for communities of color.   The recent murder of Mr. Eric Garner is but an example of the same disrespect for communities of color.  There has to be some remedy for this kind of police misconduct.  These officers are discriminating against communities of color and they are doing it under color of law

I don't claim to know anything about whether the twelve year old was abused or not.  I do know the mom was.  I do know the cops should be held responsible.  I do know nothing much will happen to them.

Hell, cops strangle black folks to death on the street in NYC and no one files a murder charge against them.  So, I guess this ain't no big deal...not in America...just business as usual...

The following is from Prison Culture.

‘Mistaken Identity,’ The Violent Un-Gendering of Black Women, and the NYPD

Like many others, I saw the video of Denise Stewart’s assault by NYPD cops.

Perhaps unlike others though, I was most interested in the response of those watching rather than in the violence of the cops. I expect police officers to abuse black people so that’s not shocking anymore.
In the first few seconds of the video, a man is heard repeating: “Are you serious? That’s a woman. That’s a female. Where the female cops? That’s a female. That’s a female.” Then someone else (presumably a cop) says: “Shut it up! This has nothing to do with you.”
Clearly, the speaker assumes that a woman should be treated less harshly than Denise Stewart. Yet what kind of treatment at the hands of law enforcement is appropriate for a ‘female’ if she’s black? Black women have never had the benefit of protection by and from the state. As importantly, black women were not and haven’t been spared from brutal treatment. What historian Sarah Haley (2013) has termed “the absence of a normative gendered subject position” for black women explains (in part) how the NYPD can violently drag Denise Stewart out of her apartment half naked and manhandle her. She is ungendered to the cops and as a black person she is unhuman to them.
Ms. Stewart’s lawyer claims that the police knocked on the wrong door that night. But I would contend that under the current regime of racist policing across the country, there is no such thing as ‘mistaken identity’ for black people. We are all suspect and susceptible to police violence at any time, anywhere, for being black. This fact is undeniable. The people in blue are voracious and they crave black bodies. They are insatiable and rapacious. Let’s do away with euphemisms and imprecise language: U.S policing is and has always been inherently anti-black.
The speaker on the video’s question “Where the female cops?” belies how the cops are in our heads. We don’t question their necessity even as they are brutalizing us in the hallways of our apartments. The question should always be “Why are you here?” We must train ourselves to ask it. More black police officers, more women cops will not alter the fact that policing is oppressive.
One reason that the police were in Denise Stewart’s building is that someone called the cops to report a disturbance in another apartment. We have to begin to divest ourselves of the police and start finding ways not to call them. This will not end oppressive policing but it is an important step towards harm reduction. Below is the result of one simple call to the police:
“Denise Stewart was charged with assaulting a police officer, and she and her 20-year-old daughter Diamond Stewart were charged with resisting arrest, criminal possession of a weapon, and acting in a manner injurious to a child.
Stewart’s 24-year-old son Kirkland Stewart was also charged with resisting arrest, and her 12-year-old daughter was charged with assaulting a police officer, criminal mischief, and criminal possession of a weapon.”
The family also claims that a 4 year old child was pepper-sprayed during the incident. There will be no counseling for the members of the Stewart family who have been traumatized by the NYPD. Instead, there will be lawyer fees, countless visits to court, lost wages, nightmares, and zero justice. Most people (except those directly impacted) will or already have forgotten this incident. As I type this, the NYPD is probably terrorizing another black woman as the ghost of Eleanor Bumpurs (who Audre invited us to remember) hovers overhead.
“and I am going to keep writing it down
how they carried her body out of the house
dress torn up around her waist
past tenants and the neighborhood children
a mountain of Black Woman”
Because Audre taught me well, I am going to write down how the NYPD dragged Denise Stewart out of her apartment at almost midnight in a towel that quickly fell off leaving her in her underwear half naked pressed against a wall gasping for breath calling out for oxygen because she suffered from asthma until she crumpled to the floor having fainted but 12 cops didn’t know that and they simply walked around her to go harass and harm her children and her grandchildren….
I’m going to keep writing it down…

Thursday, August 07, 2014



I hate always sounding like the voice of doom and gloom, but I'm starting to wonder which will get us all first, global climate change, environmental disaster, bacteria, viruses, nuclear weapons and war.  It'll be a good race...and we will have global capital to thank for it all. 

The dragon is burping and we'd best take its indigestion very seriously.  You remember those strange sinkholes that popped up in Siberia last month.  You may have missed, or not considered the seriousness of the news that scientists are saying the mystery is not a mystery.  Climate scientists who traveled to the site decided it is methane gas a come a gurgling.   

As Digital Journal reported:

A senior researcher with the Scientific Research Center of the Arctic, Andrei Plekhanov, speaking with the Associated Press said the crater is likely caused by a "buildup of excessive pressure" underground caused by warming regional temperatures in the area. Unusually high levels of methane were recorded by Plekhanov's team near the bottom of the sinkhole.

Sensors dropped down the first hole discovered measured 9.6 percent methane, which is much higher than the 0.000179 percent that is normally found in the atmosphere, Nature reported. There is also water at the bottom, about 300 feet down.

 "Here, total carbon storage is like all the rain forests of our planet put together," says the scientist, Sergey Zimov.  The "here" Zimov is talking about is out there in the great Siberia. 

Scientists and others have warned for years that the day will come when all that methane buried in the permafrost of places like Siberia will come rolling out and act as one incredible accelerator of global climate change.

Well, hello Earth people.

You see, although methane is not the most abundant GHG, it is one of the strongest, being 80-times more potent than carbon dioxide. Methane is actually 21 times more efficient in absorbing infrared radiation than CO2, even though it only hangs around 10 years in the atmosphere.

Some people think a catastrophic release of methane gases would even lead to an extinction event.

That wouldn't be good.

Scientists have said for many years that the epicenter of global warming will be found in the far-northern reaches of the globe. Gas has been seeping out of the regions permafrost for the past 10,000 years, since the last ice-age. That slow seepage has changed in the last 60 years or so as the earth began to warm.  You can presume that the seepage hasn't been slowing down.  Let's say things have cranked up a bit, more than a bit.

An article in Nature points out,

...researchers argue that long-term global warming might be to blame — and that a slow and steady thaw in the region could have been enough to free a burst of methane and create such a big crater. Over the past 20 years, permafrost at a depth of 20 metres has warmed by about 2°C, driven by rising air temperatures1, notes Hans-Wolfgang Hubberten, a geochemist at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Potsdam, Germany.
Hubberten speculates that a thick layer of ice on top of the soil at the Yamal crater site trapped methane released by thawing permafrost. “Gas pressure increased until it was high enough to push away the overlying layers in a powerful injection, forming the crater,” he says. Hubberten says that he has never before seen a crater similar to the Yamal crater in the Arctic.

Seriously, you should worry some about craters popping up in Siberia.  You might also worry about other places that seem pretty out of the way.  Several years ago Russian scientists began reporting on  hundreds of plumes of methane gas, some 1,000 meters in diameter, bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean,

Anarchist Writers makes the problem crystal clear and the solution just as clear:

The concern is the possible creation of a major posse feedback loop where climate change resulting in increased temperatures in the tundra leads to permafrost thawing and the release of methane. The methane causes additional warming leading to additional release of methane etc. At the moment looking at available evidence many scientists think such a loop is unlikely { ed. note: not according to what I read} but as with other aspects of climate change it’s not fully predictable and represents yet another potentially disastrous tipping point.

The root problem is the global capitalist economy that goes into crisis if growth ever slows to 2% or less. But growth translates to greater extraction of natural resources and escalating climate change. The Kyoto and other attempts at international deals have been a failure due to the ‘dog eat dog’ nature of capitalist competition. We need a very different economy that serves society rather than the profit of a few.

Capitalism:  We can't live all that much longer on the Earth with it.  So, "hey, hey, ho, ho, Capitalism has got to go."

Now, if we could just get it together and make that happen before Capital's slogan of, "hey, hey, ho, ho, all the Earth has got to go," wins out.

Got it.  Get it.  The following is from Democracy Web.

And yeah, I know this news isn't brand new, but than neither am I.

The Really Scary Thing About Those Jaw-Dropping Siberian Craters — ClimateProgress
by Ari Phillips

yamnal crater siberia methane
CREDIT: flickr/ Steve Jurvetson

Since this first discovery, two other smaller craters have been spotted in the surrounding regions, fueling even more [STUPID] armchair conjecture.
Russian scientists sent to the site are now providing first-hand data showing that unusually high concentrations of methane of up to 9.6 percent were present at the bottom of the first large crater shortly after it was discovered on July 16. Andrei Plekhanov, an archaeologist at the Scientific Centre of Arctic Studies in Salekhard, Russia, who led an expedition to the crater, told The Journal Nature that air normally contains just 0.000179 percent methane.
The last two summers in the Yamal have been exceptionally warm at about nine degrees Fahrenheit above average.
According to Plekhanov, the last two summers in the Yamal have been exceptionally warm at about nine degrees Fahrenheit above average. Rising temperatures could have allowed the permafrost to thaw and collapse, releasing the methane previously trapped by the subterranean ice. Methane is the primary component of natural gas. The original crater is about 20 miles from a large natural gas plant and the entire Yamal Peninsula is rich in natural gas that is being extensively tapped to help fuel Russia’s natural gas boom.
Hans-Wolfgang Hubberten, a geochemist at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Potsdam, Germany, told Nature that climate change and the slow, steady thaw of the region could be to blame.
“Gas pressure increased until it was high enough to push away the overlying layers in a powerful injection, forming the crater,” he said.
This frame grab made Wednesday, July 16 shows the 200-foot wide crater discovered in the Yamal Peninsula.
While staring down into the abyss of these craters is a scary thought, the release of large quantities of greenhouse gases from melting permafrost is existentially daunting. A study from earlier this year found that melting permafrost soil, which typically remains frozen all year, is thawing and decomposing at an accelerating rate. This is releasing more methane into the atmosphere, causing the greenhouse effect to increase global temperatures and creating a positive feedback loop in which more permafrost melts.
“The world is getting warmer, and the additional release of gas would only add to our problems,” said Jeff Chanton, the John Widmer Winchester Professor of Oceanography at Florida State and researcher on the study. According to Chanton, if the permafrost completely melts, there would be five times the current amount of carbon equivalent in the atmosphere.
Kevin Schaefer, a permafrost scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, told ThinkProgress that there are actually two sources of GHGs released by melting permafrost: methane hydrates that destabilize when permafrost temperatures rise, as has been the case in Siberia, and frozen organic matter.
“Note that the methane hydrate and the decaying organic matter emissions result from two completely different mechanisms,” said Schaefer. “Methane hydrate emissions come from deep permafrost due to purely physical processes. The decaying organic matter emissions come from near-surface permafrost due to purely biological processes.”
He said that as the permafrost thaws, the organic matter will also thaw and begin to decay, releasing CO2 and methane into the atmosphere. “Published estimates indicate 120 gigatons of carbon emissions from thawing permafrost by 2100, which would increase global temperatures by an additional 7.98 percent,” he said.
As with other processes in the permafrost zone, abrupt changes appear to be as or perhaps more important than slow gradual change.
Schaefer said the phenomenon of the Siberian craters was a surprise to him because he thought the methane would leak out more slowly. Capturing these large bursts of methane before they enter the atmosphere could be possible, according to Schaefer, however extremely difficult. [Yes, and monkeys might fly out of his ass.]
“The key is drilling into the permafrost before the methane escapes,” he said. “However, creating the infrastructure just to get to these remote locations is daunting.”
He said that capturing the emissions from decaying organic matter would be impossible.
Ted Schuur, a professor of ecosystem ecology at the University of Florida and leader of the Permafrost Carbon Network, told ThinkProgress that the
Siberian craters remind him of ‘hot spots’ of methane bubbling that occur both in lakes and undersea in the permafrost zone. [This was my initial thought.]
“This could be a terrestrial version that was previously capped by ground ice in permafrost,” he said. “If indeed they are the result of warming permafrost they could be a significant pathway of greenhouse gas release to the atmosphere. As with other processes in the permafrost zone, abrupt changes appear to be as or perhaps more important than slow gradual change.”
A survey of 41 permafrost scientists in 2011 estimated that if human fossil-fuel use remained on a high projection and the planet warmed significantly, gases from permafrost could eventually equal 35 percent of present day annual emissions. In the few years since then, emissions have continued to rise. If emissions are heavily curtailed, greenhouse gases from permafrost could make up as little as around the equivalent of 10 percent of today’s human-caused emissions. This is far lower, but still highly disconcerting.


Wednesday, August 06, 2014


The Sikh community turned the heat up Tuesday on the NYPD to find the lead-footed bigot who ran down a Queens businessman with a pickup truck after yelling, “Go back to your own country, Bin Laden!”  The Sikh's are demanding federal intervention in the case...and for good reason (though, personally, I'm not sure the feds are all that better an answer).

The New York Daily News reports:

...the Sikh Coalition says it wants the feds involved because the group is not convinced the police department is doing enough.

“The NYPD needs to address the perception that it doesn't care about Sikhs,” the coalition said in a statement. “The NYPD doesn't allow turbaned Sikhs to serve in the police force. The same police force that is supposed to protect us is also discriminating against us.”
The Sikh Coalition yesterday wrote sadly, 

Two years to the day of the Oak Creek, Wisconsin Gurdwara massacre, the Sikh American community of New York City is organizing a rally this morning to draw attention to the plight of Sandeep Singh, a Sikh father who remains hospitalized after a driver in a pick-up truck ran him over on a public street last week and dragged him for 30 feet.
Only moments earlier, the driver had used racial and religious slurs against Sandeep, calling him a “terrorist” and telling him to “go back to your country.” While Sandeep recovers at a hospital, his attacker is still at large, and the Sikh Coalition is calling on city and federal agencies to investigate the attack on Sandeep as a hate crime.

Hate crimes against Sikh are nothing new, obviously.  They wear turbans and have beards.  They must be terrorists, right?  America, land of the free, home of the brave....

 In February 2013, a Sikh business owner was shot and injured in Port Orange, Florida. In May 2013, a Sikh grandfather was beaten with a steel rod in Fresno, California. In September 2013, a Sikh professor at Columbia University was assaulted in New York City.

Sandeep Sing was just crossing a street when the man in the truck started screaming at him.  Sing was having none of it. The driver returned to his vehicle and Singh stood in front of it in protest.  The truck driver ran right over him and dragged him thirty feet down the street.

Sing said, 

I was attacked because I am a Sikh and because I look like a Sikh. Justice should be served so that no one else goes through what I have been through. We need to create a world without hate.

Only in America (well, some other places, too, I suppose) do people on the street just randomly attack Sikhs because they get them confused with the racist attacks they really want to make.  Incredible... 

Gotta go...

The following is from the Village Voice.

Tensions Flare Between Queens Sikhs and NYPD After Racially Motivated Hit and Run

Security still courtesy of the Sikh Coalition
The driver dragged Sandeep Singh's body 30 feet.
It was shortly after midnight on Wednesday, Sandeep Singh and three of his friends were crossing 99th Street at 101 Avenue in Richmond Hill, Queens when they crossed paths with a man in a pick-up truck. Witnesses say the driver called Singh a "terrorist," and yelled at him to "go back to your country." Singh, a Sikh, stood in the truck's path to keep the driver from leaving while his friends called the police, but the driver gassed his pick-up into Singh, hitting the 29-year-old and dragging him some 30 feet before he came loose.

A week later, Singh, a father of two children and owner of a construction business, is still in the hospital. "He clung to the bottom of the pick up truck, so most of his injuries are along his back and his side," says Amardeep Singh, director of programs for the Sikh Coalition. At this point, he's had between 20 and 30 stitches, and Amardeep Singh says he will likely need a skin graft as well.
The driver, meanwhile, remains at large. The incident was captured by multiple security cameras and while investigators have been able to determine the make and model of the truck, they've had no luck turning up a license plate number, and none of the witnesses have been able to identify the driver through police photos.
"There's a lot of outrage in the community. It's a tightly knit Sikh community and they've experienced a lot of hate crimes," Amardeep Singh says. "There is this frustration about lack of action [on the part of the NYPD]."
Members of the Queens Sikh community, Singh says, feel the police are not doing enough to address this crime in particular, and crime against Sikhs in Richmond Hill, generally.
Twelve leaders of the Sikh community, including the presidents of two major houses of worship in Richmond Hill as well as representatives from the Sikh Coalition, met with the commander of the 102 precinct yesterday at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice's community relations service.
In addition to hate crimes, Sikh leaders cited experiences being robbed, mugged or physically attacked that they feel have not been adequately investigated by local police.
"There's a sense that there is a real apathy in the 102 percent in Richmond Hill, as it applies to this community," Singh says.
That feeling is compounded by the fact, that the NYPD--unlike police forces in London, Toronto and Washington D.C.--prohibits officers from wearing turbans, a rule that prevents observant Sikhs from serving in the police force.
"When these hate incidences occur, the community wants action from the police, and in the back of our minds is the fact that we can't even serve in the police," Singh says, noting that Sikhs are inclined to police and military service: they account for less than two percent of India's population, but more than 20 percent of its army.
Sikh leaders, Singh says, left yesterday's meeting so frustrated they organized a rally for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday morning--incidentally the two year anniversary of the massacre at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin--at intersection where Sandeep Singh was run over.